Celebrating the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations, the year of 'Germany in India' has got off to a rousing start at an open-air concert in the Indian capital.
An open-air concert launched 15 months of Indo-German celebrations in Delhi
India's star percussionist Sivamani and his German colleague Christoph Haberer performed to a packed audience on Friday at an open-air concert that was given the title of "Infinite Rhythms," to celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations between India and Germany.
The concert marks the beginning of a 15-month long jamboree that will showcase the entire gamut of Indo-German partnership in various spheres such as politics, business, science, culture and all aspects of urban life and development. The celebrations have been titled "Germany and India 2011-2012: Infinite Opportunities."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to India in May - her second state visit - heralded a new era of cooperation and understanding in further promoting economic relations between the two countries.
Culture is a key element
The Deutsche Philharmonie will perform in seven Indian cities
Culture will be a key element of the celebrations and German artists will be performing at over a dozen venues in India through this period. The Deutsche Philharmonie will tour the country while the German Film Orchestra Babelsberg will play compositions of Academy Award winner A. R. Rahman of Slumdog Millionaire fame.
The "Mobile Space" - a set of cutting edge multi-purpose pavilions, designed specially by renowned German artist Markus Heinsdorff - is being described as the centerpiece of the project. The pavilions, which combine state-of-the-art steel and textile technologies from both countries, will travel through seven Indian cities.
There will also be a thematic focus on "StadtRäume - City Spaces," which will reflect on the implications of rapid urbanization and challenges posed by fast changes in the cities of both countries.
"We will focus on city spaces and issues like water and waste management and alternate sources of energy," said German Ambassador to India Thomas Matussek at the inaugural function. "German technology and Indian brains will be an awesome combination that will offer valuable inputs."
An opportunity to explore new fields
Germany and India are celebrating 60 years of diplomatic relations
"By 2030, there will be 570 million Indians living in big cities," added Peter Löscher, President and CEO of global industrial giant Siemens, who is also chairman of the Asia-Pacific Committee of German Business (APA). "That is the number of Europeans living in Europe."
"APA wants the relationship between the two countries to grow, build stronger partnerships and contribute to innovation and sustainability here in India," he said.
Adding to the celebratory spirit, German Minister of State in the Federal Foreign Office Cornelia Pieper said diplomatic ties in the coming years would be boosted. "The year of Germany in India is not only a 15 month celebration - it is also an opportunity to explore new fields of cooperation."
Germany is India's largest trading partner in the European Union. India ranks seventh among Asian exporters to Germany and Germany is the eighth most important destination for Indian exports.
The German government has allocated 13 million euros for the ongoing program. A similar year-long event would be conducted in Germany by India in 2012-13.
Author: Murali Krishnan
Editor: Anne Thomas